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ALCOHOLISM & DRUG ADDICTION TREATMENT ALTERNATIVE

AA AlternativeNon 12 Step RecoveryAlcoholics Anonymous AlternativeQuit Drinking without AAStop DrinkingAlternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous

“Addiction is our ability to control fear in a way we perceive as most effective for a particular situation. To control this fear is the motivation and alcohol and drugs serve this purpose well.”

AA Alternative, Non 12 Step Alternatives to AA

“The Forgotten Five Steps”
Workbook/Audio Program!

AA Alternative, Non 12 Step Alternatives to AA

Download Now!
An empowering & practical approach to addiction.

AA Alternative, Non 12 Step, Alternatives to AA

There are vast amounts of information out there on the subject of alcohol and drug addiction, and my goal is to keep it real. I’ve seen what can work and I know the potential each human has and can choose to use, if the desire is there and the right information and motivation is available.

I must emphasize that I believe in the value of each person, and like myself, each must come to terms with who they are, what they desire, and their own way of finding it. My purpose here is not to convince anyone of how right one way is or better than another, but to share what I have learned in the process and hope that it will encourage others to do the same.

I have often heard the question, “Why do I drink or drug?” Or, “Why can’t I stop using alcohol or drugs?” These questions, I believe, miss the mark. The more important question is the “what” question. “What do alcohol and drugs give me?” “What has life presented to me that I believe cannot be handled without my loyal six-pack or pipe?” “What would happen to me if I could not depend on using alcohol or drugs?”

The answer is simple and nothing new. Those who drink or drug will do anything to avoid fear. “What” they get is a temporary fix or way out. It is human nature to choose what we perceive will give us the most happiness at any given moment. Fear hinders this process.

Fear is often secondary to the disease concept in most recovery programs. I believe this gives people a “false hope” that if they obtain a mastery over this insidious disease they will obtain a life of happiness. However, they find out this is not the case when they are presented with a negative life experience and end up using alcohol or drugs again.

Why? Because they believe (perceive) the situation will be unmanageable if they do not run and hide in a bottle or pipe. The avoidance of fear is greater than resolving the conflict in a positive manner.

Addiction is our ability to control fear in a way we perceive as most effective for a particular situation. To control this fear is the motivation and alcohol and drugs serve this purpose well.

In the end, the person struggling with an addiction must come to realize that his/her individual worth is not because he/she is “sober” or “addicted” but because he/she is alive.

The addict will continue to use until he/she is convinced that they can successfully live life without the use of alcohol or drugs.

There Is A Way & You Have A Choice!
I must expand here for I do not believe the alcohol or drug user is inept or deficient in any way. They are not any different than the non-addicted person. Sure they may have a mess to clean up with family and friends, but their desire to avoid fear and obtain happiness is the same as anyone’s. Some overeat, some exercise too much, some close themselves off and become bitter, some work too much, some drink or use drugs, etc. The bottom line is balancing how we cope with our fear in life and still be able to function in a healthy way.

But how do we decide this balance? How do we determine what is healthy or unhealthy for each of us individually?

The question I often ask myself is “What statement do I want to give to the world?” This is individual and powerful for each individual. It cannot be taught to them or forced upon them with consequences and threats. Consequences and threats can be a motivation to change only if the person realizes their current choice of behavior does not match their inner desire and focus of who they want to be and choose for their life.

So the answer lies in our ability to realize who we are and who we want to be. But how?

I get this question a lot. So I decided to create a guide that will help you. In the ebook “The Forgotten Five-Steps” I explain a simple program that will allow you to do this. I also will give you online help and coaching. I believe it is important to invest in your life and obtain accountability. $35 is a small price compared to the thousands of dollars traditional rehabs and programs charge. The money is secondary to me, I’m looking for a commitment. Instead of going out and smoking or drinking this money, decide right now to invest in something that will give you the ability to define your life as you want it to be. I will send it to you free if you are short on money, but for most I would encourage you to purchase it.

You have probably been through the programs and know all the info. Forget all that and decide now that you want more, that you want hope.

“The Forgotten Five Steps”
Workbook/Audio Program!

AA Alternative, Non 12 Step Alternatives to AA
Download Now!

An empowering & practical approach to addiction.
AA Alternative, Non 12 Step, Alternatives to AA

Contact me with any questions!

AA Alternative

www.recoverforever.com

www.addictionalternative.net

www.newarkohiocounseling.com


AA Alternative, Non 12 Step Alternatives to AA

Newark Ohio Alcohol & Drug Counseling

AA AlternativeNon 12 Step RecoveryAlcoholics Anonymous AlternativeQuit Drinking without AAStop DrinkingAlternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous
Individual drug and alcohol counseling for the Ohio Counties: Licking County Ohio – Knox County Ohio- Fairfield County – Perry County Ohio- Muskingum County – Coshocton County

ALCOHOLISM & DRUG ADDICTION TREATMENT ALTERNATIVE

AA AlternativeNon 12 Step RecoveryAlcoholics Anonymous AlternativeQuit Drinking without AAStop DrinkingAlternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous

“Addiction is our ability to control fear in a way we perceive as most effective for a particular situation. To control this fear is the motivation and alcohol and drugs serve this purpose well.”

AA Alternative, Non 12 Step Alternatives to AA

“The Forgotten Five Steps”
Workbook/Audio Program!

AA Alternative, Non 12 Step Alternatives to AA

Download Now!
An empowering & practical approach to addiction.

AA Alternative, Non 12 Step, Alternatives to AA

There are vast amounts of information out there on the subject of alcohol and drug addiction, and my goal is to keep it real. I’ve seen what can work and I know the potential each human has and can choose to use, if the desire is there and the right information and motivation is available.

I must emphasize that I believe in the value of each person, and like myself, each must come to terms with who they are, what they desire, and their own way of finding it. My purpose here is not to convince anyone of how right one way is or better than another, but to share what I have learned in the process and hope that it will encourage others to do the same.

I have often heard the question, “Why do I drink or drug?” Or, “Why can’t I stop using alcohol or drugs?” These questions, I believe, miss the mark. The more important question is the “what” question. “What do alcohol and drugs give me?” “What has life presented to me that I believe cannot be handled without my loyal six-pack or pipe?” “What would happen to me if I could not depend on using alcohol or drugs?”

The answer is simple and nothing new. Those who drink or drug will do anything to avoid fear. “What” they get is a temporary fix or way out. It is human nature to choose what we perceive will give us the most happiness at any given moment. Fear hinders this process.

Fear is often secondary to the disease concept in most recovery programs. I believe this gives people a “false hope” that if they obtain a mastery over this insidious disease they will obtain a life of happiness. However, they find out this is not the case when they are presented with a negative life experience and end up using alcohol or drugs again.

Why? Because they believe (perceive) the situation will be unmanageable if they do not run and hide in a bottle or pipe. The avoidance of fear is greater than resolving the conflict in a positive manner.

Addiction is our ability to control fear in a way we perceive as most effective for a particular situation. To control this fear is the motivation and alcohol and drugs serve this purpose well.

In the end, the person struggling with an addiction must come to realize that his/her individual worth is not because he/she is “sober” or “addicted” but because he/she is alive.

The addict will continue to use until he/she is convinced that they can successfully live life without the use of alcohol or drugs.

There Is A Way & You Have A Choice!
I must expand here for I do not believe the alcohol or drug user is inept or deficient in any way. They are not any different than the non-addicted person. Sure they may have a mess to clean up with family and friends, but their desire to avoid fear and obtain happiness is the same as anyone’s. Some overeat, some exercise too much, some close themselves off and become bitter, some work too much, some drink or use drugs, etc. The bottom line is balancing how we cope with our fear in life and still be able to function in a healthy way.

But how do we decide this balance? How do we determine what is healthy or unhealthy for each of us individually?

The question I often ask myself is “What statement do I want to give to the world?” This is individual and powerful for each individual. It cannot be taught to them or forced upon them with consequences and threats. Consequences and threats can be a motivation to change only if the person realizes their current choice of behavior does not match their inner desire and focus of who they want to be and choose for their life.

So the answer lies in our ability to realize who we are and who we want to be. But how?

I get this question a lot. So I decided to create a guide that will help you. In the ebook “The Forgotten Five-Steps” I explain a simple program that will allow you to do this. I also will give you online help and coaching. I believe it is important to invest in your life and obtain accountability. $35 is a small price compared to the thousands of dollars traditional rehabs and programs charge. The money is secondary to me, I’m looking for a commitment. Instead of going out and smoking or drinking this money, decide right now to invest in something that will give you the ability to define your life as you want it to be. I will send it to you free if you are short on money, but for most I would encourage you to purchase it.

You have probably been through the programs and know all the info. Forget all that and decide now that you want more, that you want hope.

“The Forgotten Five Steps”
Workbook/Audio Program!

AA Alternative, Non 12 Step Alternatives to AA
Download Now!

An empowering & practical approach to addiction.
AA Alternative, Non 12 Step, Alternatives to AA

Contact me with any questions!

AA Alternative

www.recoverforever.com

www.addictionalternative.net

www.newarkohiocounseling.com


AA Alternative, Non 12 Step Alternatives to AA

Newark Ohio Alcohol & Drug Counseling

AA AlternativeNon 12 Step RecoveryAlcoholics Anonymous AlternativeQuit Drinking without AAStop DrinkingAlternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous
Individual drug and alcohol counseling for the Ohio Counties: Licking County Ohio – Knox County Ohio- Fairfield County – Perry County Ohio- Muskingum County – Coshocton County

“I’m back. Man, things were going so good for the
last week and a half.
I
can’t take anymore. I am tired of being run over
and made to look like
the
fool. How come he can’t see how bad he is hurting
me and humiliating me.
I
am to the point where I want to say I hate him.
I know I can’t though.
I
am at the breaking point now. I am a basketcase
turned upside down in
every direction. I give up. I am so tired of crying.
I want it to be over
now. One lie leads to another lie and there is no
trust anymore for any
situation. I am sorry but all my emotions are out
right now along with a
migraine that I have had all day. What does he do but decides he needs to
leave for a little while with all his excuses of
what he has to do. LIAR LIAR LIAR!!! He’s a drug head turning into a THUG all over again. All I
want to do is just screammmmmmm! I want out of
this situation and fast.
What would be my first step. I am on the verge of
a fast approaching
nervous breakdown.”

..From the mail bag

The “Forgotten Five-Steps” Workbook

An empowering approach to an old problem!

THE SARCASM


So how do you like being an enabler and codependent? It is unfortunate, but your desire to continue helping someone struggling with alcohol or drugs has put you in a new category of human existence.

Who would of ever known that somewhere deep down inside you there lingered a desire to be completely miserable? You must love misery because look at all the things you put up with being a friend or spouse to an alcohol or drug user! Why?

Because you are an enabler and enabling allows you to stay in a relationship because your fear of being alone is greater than the experience of your spouse’s addictive behavior. You depend on your spouse so much that you enable him/her to continue the addiction thereby making you a codependent. Once codependent, your life is no longer yours but becomes enmeshed with the addicts. You are just as sick as they are and will probably have to attend some sort of self-help meeting, or subject yourself to years of counseling in order to regain any resemblance of a normal life. Don’t believe me? Ask a professional or self-help group member.

THE TRUTH

But I will not tell you any of this! It is just not true. In fact it is the most destructive and misguided information out there. When did it become a sickness, disorder, or disease to love!

alcoholism drug abuse recovery alternatives

You have tried everything!

Learn from the success of others, now!

Just because you can’t just turn your back on someone with an addiction, does not make you sick! It makes you caring! We live in the “me” generation. Individuality is emphasized and anything or anyone who hinders your personal pursuits is considered to be obsolete and to be thrown to the curb. If someone with a genuine desire to help cannot just kick their addicted spouse to the curb, they are considered to be weak with a lack of healthy self-confidence. They are what most professionals call enablers and codependents.

Don’t believe it! Of all the people I have encountered who once struggled with an addiction, but don’t anymore, none of them said it was their spouse’s fault. “If only he/she did not enable me so much” or “if only he/she wasn’t a codependent, I could of stopped drinking sooner”, are two statements I have never heard. In fact it is the complete opposite. Those who have “recovered” value and honor the strength and understanding they received from their spouses and friends.

Now does this mean you become a doormat? Absolutely not. Below you may find some helpful information on what to do. But in no way think that the answer can be found anywhere but truly in your heart. What works for one, may not work for another. What one person wants and can put up with, another may not be able to. Determine how much you are willing to take and set the boundaries. Talk to your friend or spouse and make these boundaries clear.

Sticking to your guns can be very difficult at times, but you must separate “not hurting the person’s feelings” from being able to truly help the person.

Never base your decision or boundaries on what others will think! We have been brainwashed to believe that caring is wrong. It is not. What you need to do is determine for yourself what you want your life to be about.

You are not sick, and caring is not a disease. Everyone struggles with difficult times in their lives and often these difficult times are caused by the behavior of someone close to you. No matter what you may have been told, the addict does not continue using alcohol or drugs because of something you said or did. You are not codependent and you cannot enable him/her to continue drinking or using drugs.

Sure, without money or a home to live in the addict may have to re-evaluate his/her life. But most addicts I have talked to continue using anyways even with extreme threats and consequences.

Consequences and threats may facilitate a change, but true change occurs when the addict decides it is of value to do so. It is entirely the addict’s choice and choosing. Never blame yourself!

Realize there are two aspects of change and both these aspects depend on the person using alcohol or drugs, not you!

First, the alcohol or drug user must decide that they want to change. This sounds kind of obvious, but I have found that the question “do you want to stop drinking or using drugs?” is rarely asked in a real sense. It is presumed that the addict wants to better themselves or that they are “in denial” and labeled resistant.

I’ve heard educated people talk forever on the concept of denial. It is important to mention here because it is ridiculous.

Those who abuse alcohol or drugs know exactly what they are doing, and I must say are damn good at it. They can deceive and manipulate about anyone to get their next fix.

The point here is that there is no denial, only what the addict is choosing to value. It’s difficult, but we have to put it in perspective to see the individual where they are at and where they want to be. Again, it is not you; it is what the addict is choosing to place importance on.

So the alcohol or drug user has to want to change. If they tell you they don’t have a problem, when it is completely obvious to anyone that they do, they are simply stating, “I’m not stopping”.

Second, is the alcohol or drug user has to think they can change. This can be more hairy because it takes into account the addicts perception of his/her personal life circumstances. In other words, the alcohol or drug user has to believe their life will be improved by stopping their addictive behavior.

I have to add that the model which is currently functioning in the treatment industry (disease model AA) doesn’t do a whole lot for encouraging hope. There are too many variables that can get in the way (spirituality, character defects, surrendering of will) that have more to do with ones practice of life than not drinking or drugging. How can I really change anyways if I have to be dependant on meetings, and not to mention the disease that can re-occur at any moment no matter how many spiritual awakenings I have experienced.

The following information is from a pamphlet, which is given to all patients at a leading addiction treatment center. You will probably agree that it is quite depressing and feeds into the self-fulfilling prophecy of helplessness! ….”Since the drinking of alcoholics is not a matter of choice but the symptoms of a disease, there is no use in appealing to goodwill or exhorting them to use willpower. That is like telling a tubercular patient not to cough…Alcoholics do not choose to get drunk; they get drunk in spite of intending not to. They are not morally depraved; they are sick” James Royce, SJ, Clinical Handbook of Pastoral Counseling.

The pamphlet goes on to include… “Under the influence of the drug, the addicted person’s denial is so powerful that he or she may just resist even more…You are dealing with an insidious, progressive disease that has to be approached systematically…. You need to see the drug-affected actions as part of the sickness and your loved one as a sick person.”

Now those of you familiar with treatment programs are probably not new to this line of thinking. Where is the hope? Where is a solution? Why not continue to use drugs or alcohol if this is all there is to look forward to?

A more disturbing part explains that in helping someone with his or her drug or alcohol problem a loved one must be careful for… “If you were to lose your ability to love, you would feed the addict more reasons to use drugs or alcohol…Addiction is a family problem.” Does a tubercular patient infect his family with a disease? Does his disease depend on the love from family and friends?

The importance here is that if the person using alcohol or drugs sees no hope in abstinence improving life circumstances, no change will occur.

It is not the family’s fault or lack of love, but rather the addict’s belief that they simply cannot live or cope with life without alcohol or drugs. If the addict holds this belief, they will not see any life benefits in stopping their addiction.

Two aspects of change:


1)They must decide they want to change.

Focus on the positives of the person struggling with alcohol or drugs. Why? Because they already know their life is a mess. What they don’t know is if they have the ability to climb out of this mess.

-Low self-esteem is an issue here. Self-esteem may be confused with sobriety. One does not regain an instant positive self-image simply by becoming sober.

Self-esteem is often associated with particular actions. A belief occurs that if I do such and such then I am a good person and I will remain sober. Instead of emphasizing that personal worth is present when one believes it is.

2) They must believe they can change and that changing will improve life circumstances.

– Proper support and peer groups must be present here. Remember we all rise or fall to the expectation of our peers.

Family and friends of those who use alcohol or drugs may have a hard time determining exactly what can be done. Talking with others who have been through the process can help, but I would encourage seeking out those with diverse views and experience. There is no “one way” to deal with someone who suffers with alcohol and drug use. Determine what you want your life to be about, set goals and boundaries, and realize that you do not control the behavior and choices of the addicted person. Follow your instincts and heart. And remember, you are not sick because you care!

The above article was an excerpt from the Ebook The Forgotten Five-Steps



www.recoverforever.com

Codependency – Codependent – Enabler

Newark, Ohio Alcoholism Treatment Alternative


Alcohol Addiction Alternative, Drug Addiction Recovery, Alcohol Addiction Counseling, Drug Addiction Counseling, Newark Ohio Addiction Help, Licking County Ohio Alcohol & Drug Addiction Help, Alcohol Recovery, Drug abuse Recovery Help, AA Alternative

Individual drug and alcohol counseling for the Ohio Counties: Licking County Ohio – Knox County Ohio- Fairfield County – Perry County Ohio- Muskingum County – Coshocton County

Newark Ohio Alcohol & Drug Counseling





Dancing with the devil – Tricia

Excuse me sir, but have you seen my brother?
Things have not been the same since we lost our mother.
It’s all so unfair and I just don’t understand
Why he keeps playing the same losing hand.
Our mother used to say in her all-knowing voice:
“If it is to be it is your choice.”
Whenever she said that I used to get mad,
I thought all I ever got was what I already had.
But now I know that just isn’t true- you get what you choose it’s really up to you.
Back to my brother, whom I love very much, it seems he’s been using drugs as a crutch.
It hurts so much to see him this way. I could not take any more so I went away. Now I wonder about him everyday. I hope and I pray he will find his way.
The last time I saw him, he was quite a sight. He did not even look like my brother but a creature of the night. Something sinister had taken over his mind, and you could clearly see
that he had lost his grip on reality,
Paranoia, fear and addiction were his newfound friends, delivered in a syringe of coke and heroin.
I thought his life was coming to an end.
In desperation I asked for help of anyone I knew.
The harder I tried to help, the greater his resentment grew. Leaving him alone to fight his demons was the hardest
yet only thing left to do.
My darkest days followed as I forced myself to let go.
I could not save him this I now know.
My brother is a man who knows what’s wrong and right.
He’s dancing with the devil late into the night.
Perhaps this is the way he wants to live, it’s not my place to say. I just think that somewhere along his journey he had lost his way.
There’s a universal belief that
a man’s destiny lies in the choices that he makes.
The daily struggle with what he leaves and what he takes.
Our mother is watching she’s been down this road too-
A daily struggle with temptation she all to well knew. She left her children with a birds eye view
of the loss and regret dancing with the devil gets you.
She always said it’s a choice
people do what they want to do.
The ones you hurt the most are the ones that love you.

Whispers Of A Land


I once heard a whisper deep down in the recess of my heart. I did not know if it was real or some created fantasy but when it spoke I knew it could not be denied. It was not a voice that came in from the ears, one that could be manipulated and ignored. But rather a significant yearning, a deep knowing, that I could be more than I am now…..

….. I shook my head and that brought me back, to one more hit another drink and no more pain. I wiped the sweat from my forehead and glanced out the window….
What was this voice whispering that I had to leave? Was it more painful than here? My mind started to race again, back and forth, anywhere… but away from here…..

….. But the whisper continued. It would not leave. It kept bringing me back, reminding me, beckoning me to remember. But I did not want to remember. To remember would put me right back to where I did not want to be, back to being real, back to life, back to the truth. Back to the memory of who I was and wanted to be. That land was too scary. I was fine where I was. Or, it was at least easier to believe I was fine than face where the whispers beckoned me to go….

…. One more drink, one more hit and I will be back to my place. The place where only I can go, the place where only I belong…confident and in control…. But that damn voice, that damn whisper… I wasn’t having fun anymore. I didn’t believe my stories anymore. I kept repeating them over and over, but it was no use. No matter what I tried, how many hits, how many beers, I could not find the reason anymore. Too many broken hearts and promises. I only saw destruction… and that damn voice…. Whispering to me of a land where I once walked free….

…. I saw it in other people’s eyes, that is I saw what the whispers told me. In fact it just felt good to be around. But not too long, the whispers were too powerful and true. I had to run, I had to hide, the fear would become overwhelming…

…. But I did see it. I wanted it. I’d been there. I know I have, for I remember how I walked, I remember every hill and valley. These whispers I saw in other people and felt inside my heart. This land with vast openness I was once free to roam. But how could I get there? How could I get past the fear? How could I stop to look at myself when all I ever wanted to do was run? ….

…… I wasn’t always like this. I wasn’t always scared. I was a good kid. In fact I am pretty caring even now. I do good deeds and go to church. But how long ago was it? How many years do I have to go back to remember them with innocence? Too many? No, too few. Does it matter how it started? ……….. Damn, those whispers again…. I need a hit, I need a beer……… But those whispers……….. I want them, I do I want them, ……….I want to see the sun rise and set. I want….. It just seems so far away ………… but so very close………… Shhhh…. Listen, maybe you can hear them……………..

I am Meshell-

choosing to hide(use)in my shell, all the while resenting where I dwell
perhaps the poem I spit
keeps me caught up in this shit
’cause I can never tell
if I create or am this hell
I cant claim I’m unique
to play dead when I am weak
and If I pound the wall of loneliness
without fear of what I’ll find
can I relax and reach another’s hand
or will the coward crawl back inside?

Meshell,

I hope this will help someone going through a similar experience to let them know that they are not alone. Thanks, Steve


“I had a close female friend call me in tears one night, as she had just broken up with her boyfriend. We talked for a long time, and I mentioned to her that things tend not to bother us as much during the day time, as we are busy and there is lots of stimulus to keep our minds on things other than personal problems, (Sometimes work, play, and other activities keep our minds off of our problems, but at night, when all has quieted down, we get a flood of thoughts and emotions, which were kept at bay during the daylight hours). Such was the case when she called me, and right after we hung up I wrote a poem about this phenomenon and called it, “In The Night,” which I submit to you for posting on your web site, as a poem.”

“In The Night”

by, Stephen J. Murray

nicdsteve@cox.net

In the night I have wept-

Emotions abound and have swept-

This ungodly hour of my pet-

She knows not how, how I have crept-

In the night it always seems-

The fabric my heart, it is reams-

When the sun no longer gleams-

My emotions come apart at the seams-

In the night my memories make-

Pools of disquietude in this lake-

That I lay awake-

And abate never comes to escape-

In the night there is no slack-

Again it begins with all that morbid flack-

It is here on my back-

On my back with a crack-

In the night, this is my threat-

That the busy in the day is gone to let-

Again that we have met-

And she is void of the feelings I get-

In the night years have gone by-

And I have not yet a heavy sigh-

I will never say goodbye-

Not until the day I die-

In the night with no refrain-

In the night-

In the night-

In the night

If you would like to contribute a poem, feel free to email me!


Alcoholism Help
The Forgotten Five-Steps

www.recoverforever.com

Newark, Ohio Licking County Alcoholism Treatment Alternative

www.addictionalternative.net


Alcohol Addiction Alternative, Drug Addiction Recovery, Alcohol Addiction Counseling, Drug Addiction Counseling, Newark Ohio Addiction Help, Licking County Ohio Alcohol & Drug Addiction Help, Alcohol Recovery, Drug abuse Recovery Help, AA alternative

Individual drug and alcohol counseling for the Ohio Counties: Licking County Ohio – Knox County Ohio- Fairfield County – Perry County Ohio- Muskingum County – Coshocton County

Newark Ohio Alcohol & Drug Counseling

By now the term “relapse” is both widely used and engrained into the minds of most all of who are lucky enough to enter some form of treatment in the US for chemical dependency. The “treated” person is informed that with chemical dependency, relapse can occur at any time and that from moment to moment one must be alerted to the “triggers” that may cause this regrettable fall, back to the clutches of addiction. “One day at a time” and, “you are only an arms length away from your next drink” are the clichés which echo through most AA halls and treatment offices. Although well intentioned, the concept of relapse is associated with the idea that chemical dependency or addiction is a disease. Those unfortunate enough to have this biological/chemical abnormality will forever have to be conscious of their struggle to maintain sobriety. There is no escape. The disease of chemical dependency never leaves, and in fact it is waiting in the background for its chance to reclaim its victim. Relapse is viewed as something outside the realm of the person’s control. Sure, no one forces them to pick up a drink, but if they succumb to the temptation, it is blamed on the disease. It is not until the addict surrenders his will and admits complete defeat that any hope of abstinence from chemical dependency can be obtained. Or so we hope, remember the disease is powerful and no one is off the hook, ever!


I feel the above is unfortunate and that our current outlook and use of the term “relapse” needs a more honest investigation.


First of all, there is no study or medical literature that proves or has found there to be any biological disease with chemical dependency or addiction. There is none! Believe it or not, the disease idea is used purely because no one has a clue why someone would continue to destroy his or her lives through an addiction. If we believe people would not consciously choose chemical dependency or addiction as a way of life, we conclude it must be a disease.

With no scientific literature to support this, the concept of relapse is absurd. We cannot relapse if there is no disease.

Telling people addiction is a disease, and relapse is part of that disease, (when both are false) is setting them up for failure. The disease concept does not encourage the addict to choose and control what he can to improve his life. The disease concept strips the addict of free will and puts them under the control of an imaginary disease. Again, no one and nothing can force them to pick up a drink. But if they do take the drink, it is the disease, not the man. Try this; think of someone you know who doesn’t drink. Now think of them as an alcoholic. What did you just add to them? You got it, a disease. By labeling them an alcoholic, in your mind, you have just separated them as being “different” from the normal person because of some internal biological craving. They are not different. They are just choosing a form of behavior you would not.

Secondly, 80% of those who admit they once had a problem with an addiction no longer have the addiction. They “recovered” on their own. The importance here is that these people are not struggling with a day-to-day battle of the wills to abstain from drug or alcohol use. They did not need 90 meetings in 90 days, or intensive outpatient therapy with relapse plans. They simply quit. They can do this because there is no disease. Their values and focus changed and they decided drugs and alcohol no longer held the power and significance it once had. People normally change when they realize they have something to lose if they don’t change. Pain and consequences are important here for when one gets disturbed enough they will be more motivated to change. Those who continue to use alcohol or drugs have not yet been convinced that life would be better lived if they quit. Some would then ask if those who continue to use alcohol or drugs need to “hit bottom” in order to change. The answer to that is simple. No.

The addict will continue to use until he or she is convinced that they can successfully live life without the use of alcohol or drugs.

This can come at any time and for some, it is never. There is no “bottom”. It is relative, and has more to do with why people think they can’t quit than why people continue to drink or use drugs. In other words, I am not going to quit until I think I can.

So knowing that addiction is not a disease, relapse cannot exist. And, knowing that the majority of people quit on their own, personal perception and choice is important. Why?

Because it is human nature to choose what we perceive will give us the most happiness at any given moment

But what does happiness have to do with drinking or using drugs? Anyone can tell that the addict isn’t happy. That’s right, those who drink or drug aren’t happy but that doesn’t mean they can’t perceive it to bring happiness. Addicts are full of fear, like many people who live life. The only difference is that the addict consistently chooses not to productively deal with that fear. The addict hides, and with this hiding comes the illusion of control. They numb themselves to have a moment of peace, happiness. Now are they actually experiencing peace and happiness? Of course not, but if you have a splinter in your foot and you knock yourself on the head with a baseball bat, you wont be thinking about the foot!

But this still does not answer the question of why some can’t seem to quit even though they portray a real desire to do so?

The obvious answer would be because they are told they cannot.

The same people who want to help them are at the same time telling them they can never escape their addiction completely.

This is not acceptable to me. Let’s look at the process. Someone struggling with an addiction goes to counseling or AA. They are given all the above and more standard information. They buy into “One day at a time” and the disease concept and get “sober”. They are excited about this and jump into the “recovery” process full force. But something starts to happen when they are told “recovery” is a life long process and they can never escape their disease. They find only two choices; remain in AA(treatment), or fail. They remain in AA and periodic counseling for a while. But shortly they start realizing that the mistakes they have made are coming back to haunt them. Their finances are in trouble, friends are hesitant to call, family distrusts them, they still are not happy, etc. Things are a mess. What happens? Well when you take away the addiction, the person becomes like everyone else (probably with a bit more mess to clean up though). There is no more hiding or excuses and the person is hit with the realization that the position he is now in is from his own past choices. He knows he can refrain from drinking or drugging, because he is doing it now. But, he feels alone and has difficulty understanding and controlling his feelings. For the first time in a while he feels fear. What does he do?

He holds on to his “recovery”. It is his saving grace. It becomes his identity and image.

His self-esteem seems to hinder on his progress of the 12 steps and how other members view him. But this wears thin and he soon finds out that people don’t care. The world goes on. His progress in the steps do not land him a job or get his family back. His image falls. He remembers his disease. At least he has that fight. It becomes harder to deny the usefulness his old addiction could give him now. It’s a disease remember. He feels out of control and needs to regain it. He uses and the cycle starts again. Until he realizes that addiction is a choice, he cannot regain control and ownership of his life.

He must come to realize that his individual worth is not because he is “sober” but because he is alive.

If he does “relapse” it is not because he has a disease, but because he chose to deal with his fear by avoidance.

So why can’t people quit drugs or alcohol when everything they say indicates they want to? Simply, they feel they cannot live life without it. They have made the wrong choices for so long and depended on their addictions as a crutch. To stop drinking or using drugs would strip them of the only constant they know:

The ability to control their fear and helplessness in a way they perceive as most effective for their particular situation.

This is relapse, addiction. So what can we do? Lets keep this simple.

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– We must empower the individual struggling with alcohol or drugs. We do this by taking away all excuses they may have to why they cannot stop drinking or druging. They will have many of these excuses. But the bottom line is that they don’t believe they have the necessary personal resourses to overcome it. Find their talents and help them emphasize them. I do not believe they are weak willed or spiritually deprived. Their will’s have taken them to a place where no one else would want to go. If they wanted to drink or drug, they found a way to do it. Use this strength to re-focus them. Their spirituality is normally quite strong. They are searching for something, a meaning. Help them find this meaning. Victor Frankl wrote that if you give a person purpose and meaning, they will find a way through anything. No matter how hopeless it seems. Even atheists believe in something. Even if it is life itself.

– There is no biological or chemical disease.

If they use, it’s their choice. Relapse is a choice. Tell them this.

– For every choice to use alcohol or drugs, there is an alternative choice also available.

They may have forgotten this part. The alternative choice will most likely impact the problem more directly to resolve it and not further its existence. Fear may enter here. They have avoided responsibility like the plague. But when they finally realize that their control comes from responsible choices they are more willing to attempt it. The key is when they can see how choosing the responsible choice will positively impact their life situation. When life situations can’t be seen as improving, change will be hard fought.

– No one truely enjoys their addictive behavior.

They don’t drink or drug because they “like it”. Think back to the first few times you used. The taste was awful and it most likely made you sick. No one I have ever encountered formed their desire to use after the first drink or hit. It took some work.

– Make sure goals are clear and achievable.

The addict must develop a clear vision and plan of what they want and who they want to be. This is most important, for through their use of alcohol or drugs most have lost sight of the dreams and goals they once had. Remind them. Most healthy people look at the world as their playground. The addict looks at the world as their prison. Help them find the key.

– Avoid cleaning up their mess.

Don’t get involved with the blame game. Addicts are real good at this. They can twist any situation to support their misery. Let choices and consequences be theirs. This way there is no one to blame but themselves.

– Let them know that it is ok to feel.

Most addicts don’t know how to do this. Teach them. To them, feelings are the enemy and have to be avoided. Feelings come and go and feelings will not kill you. It’s how you respond to them that matters.

– Fear is at the root of all addictions

Get them to takle one of these fears head on and they gain some ground. Build on these small successes so they can start to see their innate abilities to change.

– Get them out of their heads!

There is no destructive force in the world greater than an addicts self centered thinking. Mental illness has been defined as perceiving without testing. We perceive according to the stories we tell ourselves in our heads. It does not matter the reality of these stories. They are how we see the world. The addict has such a selfish view (story) that if they are left in their own heads there is little chance of positive change. What works well here is to have the addict help out others. If they are thinking of someone else, they will not be thinking of themselves. There is no greater fullfillment in the world than one who truly gives to another and expects nothing in return. Teach them to give.

– Perhaps the most dangerous idea in the treatment field is the phrase “You have to do it for yourself”.

Who do you think the addict has been serving all this time? His family and friends? Get them out of their heads! Teach them to help others.

– Motives drive an addiction.

Teach them to examine the motives behind their behavior. Most of their motives will be fear based. Remember their addiction is their attempt to control an internal feeling of fear and helplessness. A good rule of thumb in checking motives to a behavior is to ask, “will this hurt or harm myself or others?” If the answer is yes, then difficulties lie ahead. Behaviors with fear as their motive will only result in self protecting behavior. They will not focus on a solution to a problem and will not satisfy.

– Fear and guilt do little to help the addict abstain from alcohol or drugs!

Most professionals focus on the negative consequences as a reason to abstain from alcohol or drugs. This is the wrong approach. The addict already knows, or has experienced the negative consequences associated with using. This has not hindered their use. They may cut down for a while after experiencing a negative consequence only to resume normal use as time goes on. This is because people do not like to live in fear. They want to escape it. Guilt is the same thing. People want to avoid it. Fear and guilt focus on the problem not the solution. Teach them to focus on the solution. Help them see that change occurs when they focus their life on something other than drinking or drugging. Don’t define them as “in recovery” or by “sober time”. This is a focus on the problem. When they realize they can handle stress in life, not because the are “sober” or “in recovery” but because they are alive and equipped with the ability to do so, drugs and alcohol will be irrelevant.


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Alcohol Drug Relapse Prevention

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Drug addiction and alcohol addiction is not a disease, but a choice. You do not have to be a passive bystander to an imaginary disease of drug addiction or alcohol addiction; give up your will; be labeled as an alcoholic or “in recovery”; or attend meetings and treatment for the rest of your life!

Those who struggle with alcohol addiction or drug addiction are finding that often the mainstream thinking isn’t helping them. Three or four alcohol or drug rehabs later, many counseling sessions attended, and hundreds or even thousands of dollars spent only to find out that relapse is a part of treatment and the drug or alcohol addiction “disease” is with you forever! What? Then why go? If something does not produce acceptable results, why continue in it?

Because we have been led to believe that drug addiction or alcohol addiction is a disease. We have been told that the only way to “recover” is to attend treatment and endless AA, NA meetings for the rest of our lives.

The truth is that most people who have had problems with alcohol addiction or drug addiction in the past quit on their own.

Even those currently struggling with drug addiction or alcohol addiction will tell you that they have often refrained from drug or alcohol use for a period of time.

There is no mysterious disease here, it is a matter of choice.

You are in complete control right now! No one is stopping you from cracking that beer, or sniffing that powder.

If you want to use alcohol or drugs, you will. Addicts always find a way.

So why is the alternative to using (not using) drugs or alcohol so difficult to comprehend? We can choose to pick up a beer whenever we fancy. But if we want to put that beer down, all of a sudden there are diseases, character defects, meetings, counseling treatment sessions, etc., to contend with!

Many who have had an alcohol addiction or drug addiction problem, have quit on their own and without all the drama and struggle!

There are vast amounts of information out there on the whole “recovery” process from drug addiction and alcohol addiction. With this vast information, I believe, we often lose sight of what matters most.

We may lose site of the individual differences and dignity of all who struggle with drug addiction or alcohol addiction to receive the kind of help that will be most beneficial for them to succeed in life. Diversity enhances life experiences and we should not limit ones options for success in “recovery” by presenting only one view of addiction. We are all free to choose and have every capability and tool necessary to live the life we dream without alcohol or drugs.

Read more from The Forgotten Five Steps

Drug addiction and alcohol addiction is a painful business. Because of the pain and struggle involved we may search endlessly for the one cause or cure to end the madness. We become afraid, and through this fear cling to any shred of evidence we can find to lift us from our state.

Is there one way to succeed in “recovery”? Who is right? Who is wrong?

When it is all said and done, it does not matter which path you take to end alcohol addiction or drug addiction. It’s your choice, your life. Find a way.

For whatever reason, you gave alcohol or drugs power and control. They served a purpose for you. This purpose allowed you the ability to control your fear and feelings of helplessness.

Relearning a healthy coping strategy may take time, and you will make mistakes. Don’t go to hard on yourself. Learn from your mistakes. You are more than your drug or alcohol addiction!

Those that struggle with drug addiction or alcohol addiction will continue to use until they are convinced that they can successfully live life without the use of alcohol or drugs.

Addiction as a choice does not avoid responsibility. Rather it acknowledges mistakes and enables ownership of positive change.